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Solea Renewables commissions off-grid diesel hybrid solar PV plant for South African mining company

Solea Renewables (Johannesburg, South Africa) completed and commissioned the world’s first 1 MW ground mounted diesel/solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid electric power plant for industrial mining applications.
The decentralized 1 MW DC hybrid PV system was planned and installed for Cronimet Energy South Africa (Pty) Limited to fuel Cronimet Mining’s chromium ore operations.

The innovative and environmentally responsible renewable energy solution will allow the mining company to power their daytime operations with a decentralized grid-independent power supply.

The 1 MW PV plant will deliver approximately 1.8 gigawatt hours (GWh) of solar power per year, allowing the mining company to materially reduce its daytime diesel consumption and capitalize on a natural long-term hedge against rising diesel costs.

'The realization of our first grid-independent utility scale hybrid PV plant was a successful market entry for the Solea group. Southern Africa is a key growth market for Solea and our diesel hybrid PV systems are ready to roll out,' Solea AG’s CEO Anton Schweiger commented.

The fully integrated PV plant was constructed on Solea's Renewables' galvanized steel and aluminum fixed-tilt racking system mounted to its proprietary helical steel screw foundation. A total of 4,170 JinkoSolar JKM240P-60 polycrystalline PV panels were installed and 63 three-phase decentralized SMA 17000TL inverters were installed, each with a nominal AC power rating of 17kVA.

The PV system was designed around the mine's existing primary diesel 'island mode' power infrastructure and synchronized to the two existing 800kVa diesel gensets by using SMA’s Fuel Save Controller software.

The software monitors and regulates the diesel gensets' output in a real-time and consistent relationship with the PV plant's output. The software computes the maximum amount of PV power that the island mode system can safely consume to ensure stability of the supply and the most effective use of renewable PV power.

'Hybrid PV systems provide mining operators in remote locations with low or no existing infrastructure with a reliable 20 to 30-year power source alternative to electrifying daytime mining operations with only diesel gensets', says Rollie Armstrong, Director of Solea Capital GmbH.

Additional information:
News date: 06/12/2012

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